Future legislation aims to expand access to county Veterans’ Courts

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. - Following veteran suicide roundtable discussions held across the state by State Sen. Mike Regan, he now plans to introduce a bill to tackle one of the issues he heard during the discussions to help veterans.

“I think that I would be okay at this point," said Scott Young, a former USMC Staff Sgt. "But it would have taken me a bit longer to get to where I’m at now.”

As young reflects on his life, there's one part he credits as a turning point to getting his life back on track.

“It gave me structure, camaraderie, a mentor," said Young. "And those are all things I felt during my transition were kind of missing.”

After serving two tours in Iraq, Young had a tough time transition to civilian life. Turning to alcohol, he got two DUI's in the span of 13 months. He was referred to take part in Dauphin County's Veterans Court, a program offered by 25 Pennsylvania Counties. It gives participants support and guidance navigating the legal system while also addressing underlying problems cause by Post Traumatic Stress Disorders.

“I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at right now without it," said Young.

Because Veterans Court has a high success rate, State Sen. Regan will introduce legislation in the coming weeks to make the program easier for veterans in counties where the program doesn't exist to participate.

“It allows counties to get creative, and maybe one county which doesn’t have a veterans court can use another county’s veterans court," said Sen. Regan. "The goal is to make sure they’re getting programing that’s conducive to repairing their PTSI.”

Regan says this will just be one of many bills he introduces in the future to address the problems veterans are facing when they return home from deployment.

“These guys have sacrificed so much and they come back and their mental health is not right," said Sen. Regan. "It’s the least we can do.”

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.